University Governing Body Election
Summary of Service
The University's governing body has nineteen members, including the President of the University. Two State officials are ex-officio members, ten members are chosen by the University and six members are chosen by the alumni, one elected each spring.
Election Services Co. (ESC) worked with the University to develop a collaborative election management program. The election allowed each member the opportunity for paper or Internet voting. There were two phases to this project: the Notification of Election and the Election, as outlined below.
Notification of Election Phase
During this phase, the University sent an email to all alumni members with email addresses on file (approximately 70,000), notifying the membership of the upcoming election. Members were given the opportunity to select the medium in which they preferred to receive their balloting information, electronically or via mail. An embedded link in the email took the members directly to a secure site to record their individual distribution preferences. The member was also asked to provide the most current email and postal address information. ESC developed and hosted this site, which reflected the "look and feel" of the University's website. ESC reported individual preferences for electronic or paper ballots, along with the updated email and/or address information back to the University in the form of an electronic file.
ESC distributed personalized, printed ballots to all members who preferred to receive their information via mail, or who did not communicate any preference. The paper ballot packages included instructions on how to vote via the Internet or by return mail, so all members had the option to vote online.
Members who preferred electronic voting were sent an electronic version of the ballot package. It contained a link to the secure voting website, which simplified the online experience. The Internet voting site also gave members the opportunity to update their email address and/or physical address.
Of 70,000 members with known email addresses, nearly 12,000, or 17% preferred electronic media. Nearly 5,000 of these (42%) actually voted on the Internet. An additional 3% of members who received paper ballots also voted online. Of total returns, 64% used paper ballots and 36% voted online. Mail returns represented approximately 13% of the paper ballots distributed. The University Foundation also intends to incorporate their new insight into alumni preferences into future campaign communications.
ESC understands that your election isn't just a mandatory exercise in good governance; but is an important opportunity to cultivate and engage your alumni. If you would like to hear our ideas on how we can help make your project a greater success, please contact us at:
Election Services Co.
1363 Veterans Highway, Suite 32
Hauppauge, NY 11788
or speak with your ESC representative.
- Membership: 28,000
- Election Type: Hybrid (paper ballot mailing w/Internet voting option)
- Election Type: Board of Trustees
The association had a complex election system with multiple ballots for numerous races. Even though members were only eligible to cast a ballot in pre-determined races, they received a folder containing ballots for every race. As a result, members attempted to cast votes in races for which they were ineligible. Participation rates had declined over time, with less than 15% of eligible members casting a ballot in the most recent election. The association's manual tabulation system yielded inconsistent results and jeopardized the integrity of the election.
ESC worked with the association to develop customized ballots for each member. To increase participation, ESC implemented a hybrid voting system, giving constituents the option to cast votes over the Internet or via paper ballot. The association utilized the ESC electronic tabulation system to enhance speed, accuracy and auditability.
In the first year of partnership with ESC, the association saw member participation increase 3% from the prior year, with more than 20% of the votes cast over the Internet. ESC's customized ballot process ensured that all members voted only in those races for which they were eligible. The ESC electronic tabulation system delivered a challenge-free election process and yielded results with 100% accuracy.
University Board of Trustees Election
Summary of Service
Election Services Co. (ESC) worked with the Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of the Board of Trustees to plan and introduce electronic voting. The objectives were to increase participation without affecting demographic diversity, free-up Board resources for higher value activities, enhance professional image and control escalating costs.
The election rules mandated an open nominations phase, where write-in candidates could be added to the slate of three proposed by the nominations committee. Any nominee receiving 50 or more votes during the nominations phase would appear on the final ballot. There were six candidates on the ballot, and approximately 180,000 were eligible to participate.
ESC recommended the addition of a third phase to precede the nominations. This recruitment phase focused on identifying members who prefer electronic communications. ESC sent three email messages to approximately 100,000 alumni with known email addresses. The email contained a letter from the Director explaining the opportunity to increase convenience and restrain costs with a link to the enrollment site. When the members clicked on the link, they were automatically presented with a screen on which they indicated their preference for receiving election materials. Additionally, members were given the opportunity to provide a more current email address, which ESC provided back to the client for their records. Approximately 18% of the email recipients enrolled for the all-electronic process, while approximately 5% confirmed their continued preference for a paper mail balloting.
In the ensuing nominations and elections phases, the University was able to reduce the print and mail by over 36,000 pieces. The University plans to continue to build on this number, further reducing the cost of printing and mailing.
ESC's Administration Console was another element of this project. This gave authorized persons at the Board offices the ability to view election activity as it transpired. During nominations, this data included the nominations by candidate in real time. During the election phase, only participation activity was available, with all tabulation held until the polls closed. The University used the console to monitor alumni participation and to determine the need for additional email reminders. In addition to performing the Recruitment Phase, ESC also provided the client with demographic data for use by their development staff. This data included specific information about the ages of the voters, such as age by voting medium, by geographic locations, by class year, by mode of voting along with a number of additional variables.
The results of the project more than met the goals established. Participation increased nearly 15% over the prior year. Internet returns were 44% of total votes cast. Of those who received electronic ballots, approximately 42% cast their electronic votes. Paper ballot returns represented approximately 4.5% of the paper ballots distributed.
ESC understands that your election isn't just a mandatory exercise in good governance; but is an important opportunity to cultivate and engage your alumni. If you would like to hear our ideas on how we can help make your project a greater success, please contact us at 516-248-4200.
- Membership: 30,000 international
- Election Method: Hybrid (paper ballot plus Internet)
- Client Tenure Multi-year
- Election Type: Annual, Board of Directors
The credit union required its members to vote in person, at local branches. Personnel at these branches were equipped with reams of computer paper to authenticate those members who were motivated to show up to vote. Turnout was understandably dismal, with only approximately 600-700 votes cast, none of which came from outside the U.S.
ESC worked with the credit union to develop a multi-year, phased approach to increase participation, enfranchise international membership and present a more progressive image. The solution initially replaced on-site branch voting with mail ballots, transitioning over time to a hybrid Internet voting system. ESC also worked closely with the credit union to improve the quality of international lists and mailings.
- Year 1 Turnout increase by 5 fold to 3,000 returns
- Year 2 Significantly improved distribution of foreign ballots
- Year 3 Introduction of the Internet component. 4,954 returns: 80% paper, 20% Internet
- Year 4 Returns: 60% paper, 40% Internet
- Registered Voters: 850,000
- Election Method: Hybrid (Paper ballot via mail, Internet) plus Internet at polling places
- Election Type: Presidential Primary
Voter turnout in the state primaries was decreasing each year. Voters had atrophied, and in the previous Presidential Primary, a mere 12,800 of the 850,000 registered voters turned out to vote. The party knew that they needed a high-impact solution to increase voter turnout, galvanize the electorate and update the image of the local party.
ESC mailed unique PIN#s to the 850,000 registered voters in the state. Voters had three choices:
- Voting by mail
- Voting on the Internet prior to the election
- Voting at a physical polling place by Internet or paper ballot. Online votes could be cast from any location with Internet access.
The first binding political election ever to allow citizens to cast their votes over the Internet – captured the imaginations of political leaders, technology innovators, and voters around the world and yielded a 676% increase in overall voter participation.
- 86,559 voters compared to 12,800 voters in previous election (919% increase in Hispanic communities and 515% increase in Native American communities)
- 41% voted from remote Internet sites
- 67% of voters ages 18-59 preferred Internet voting
- 79% of voters chose not to vote at polls